Some people seem to have it all. When the powers that be doled out gifts, they were the clear favorites. They got the smarts, the humor, the looks, the money, the taste. And they're never, ever seen mopping at their faces with a tissue, trying to wipe off the oil that just ... won't ... stop ... coming.
It's enough to make you hate those people, isn't it? And their perfect, perfect skin.
Because, for most of us, skin problems are a fact of life. By mid-day, your reflection in the mirror has enough shine to blind an onlooker, and you stand there saying, "Why? WHY?" as your confidence deflates a tiny bit.
There's hope, friend. We have five tips for those of you whose oil glands are out of control.
5: Don't Be Afraid of Products
Yes, your papa used plain old soap to wash his face every day. But he also gave you french fries before you had teeth. The man's wisdom was not infallible.
There are warehouses full of products out there that companies spent multiple years and millions of dollars formulating so that you would buy them to make yourself look great. (Makes you feel kinda special, doesn't it?) Men whose medicine cabinets are startlingly bare often just don't know what to buy. And we don't blame you -- half the stuff written on the hundreds of bottles in the drugstore is gobbledygook, anyway. But be brave. A teenage boy can get away with just a tube of zit cream and a stick of deodorant in the bathroom drawer, but a grown man cannot.
You really only need a few things, like a gentle cleanser and moisturizer (we'll get into that in a minute), and if you can't choose on your own, there's probably a sister or female friend around who can help. If you're too embarrassed to do that, take a look around the bathroom of your most GQ friend the next time you're over. It's not creepy if it's research.
Maybe the best thing you can pick up: a mattifier. Better than rabbit-out-of-a-hat sleight of hand, this is make-your-face-matte-instead-of-shiny magic in a bottle.
4: Be Gentle
Of course you want to wash your face when it looks like you've smeared olive oil all over it. But doing it 20 times a day in scalding water with a chemical-smelling, harsh cleanser isn't going to work -- it actually makes it worse.
You can certainly get your skin nice and dry that way. Too dry. And then your usually well-oiled skin will start freaking out because you've quite literally irritated it. As a result, your body ratchets up oil production to try to protect itself from whatever is attacking it: i.e., you.
Oily skin and acne are all too often BFFs, as well. If you have acne, it's even more important not to scrub away at your face with gritty exfoliants and zillion-percent benzoyl peroxide washes. You have to be nice to it, instead. Use warm water and a gentle cleanser, and then schedule a trip to the dermatologist. Some cases of acne simply can't be treated effectively with over-the-counter products, and the answer to your skin problem may be as easy as picking up a prescription for an oral antibiotic or topical cream.
3: Yes, Moisturize
It sounds nuts: Slap some moisturizer on oily skin? Uh, sure, I'll get right on that. But oil and moisture are two different things.
Everybody's skin needs extra moisture. There are too many things out there -- from cold winds to hot furnaces -- that are busy stealing it from you. The best moisturizer for oily skin will be light and oil-free (bonus points if you find one with sunscreen). If the packaging says "rich and creamy," move past it -- it's not for you, and it may actually be salad dressing.
After that, all you have to do is put it on right, which is where most people screw up. The second you get out of the shower or finish washing your face, pat (don't rub -- pat) your skin dry and then smooth on the moisturizer while your skin's a bit damp so the moisturizer can soak in.
2: Stay Away from Steroids
When you look in the mirror, you want to like what you see. We all have different tastes, but if your heart's desire is to look like you've been working out with Ryan Reynolds for "The Green Lantern," don't think steroids are going to do it. Steroid use can help you develop some awe-inspiring musculature, sure, but not without side effects. Acne is the most common, followed by oily skin.
You know how steroids make your muscles bigger? They do the exact same thing to the sebaceous glands. And -- surprise -- bigger oil glands equal more oil. So if you want to look totally ripped, you're going to have to do it the old-fashioned way. Unless you were really hoping for disfiguring scars, in which case, go for it.
1: Make It a Routine
Discipline: It's not just for the military. Good skin takes hard work. Drink lots of water and wear lots of sunscreen. Put in the time and effort to find products that work for you and use them like you're supposed to. Wash your face, gently, every morning and every evening (even if your less-oily friends can get by with once-a-day washing). It doesn't matter if you're too tired or you've had one too many -- you do it.
The good news is that this is the kind of hard work that gets you somewhere -- well-tended skin looks nice. And if it's still a little slick some days, comfort yourself that when you get older, you're going to have a much easier time with aging than your drier counterparts. While they're slathering their newly thinner, less elastic, more fragile hide with Crisco, you'll be sitting pretty. But in the meantime, you're not helpless.
For all you know, James Bond endured the same oily problem. He just had a really good mattifier.
Lots More Information
- 5 Skin Care Tips for Men with Dry Skin
- 15 Ways to Get Rid of Acne
- 5 Grooming Tools Every Man Should Have
- Bouchez, Colette. "Oily Skin: Solutions That Work - No Matter What Your Age." WebMD. (Jan. 22, 2011)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/oily-skin-solutions-that-work
- Brainum, Jerry. "Anabolic Steroids and the Skin." Iron Man Magazine. June 9, 2010. (Jan. 20, 2011)http://www.ironmanmagazine.com/site/anabolic-steroids-and-the-skin/